Life insurance is counted as part of your taxable estate. Many people understand that life insurance is income tax free to the beneficiaries, but the do not know that the proceeds of a life insurance policy are usually counted as part of the decedent’s estate for Federal Estate Tax purposes.
This increase in the taxable estate can often lead to estate tax or a death tax being due. 1,000,000 in life insurance can create as much as a $450,000 tax bill for the estate. To avoid this many individual create an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust or ILIT. An Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust is a type of Florida Revocable Trust that is designed to hold and own life insurance policies. Once the ILIT is created you transfer ownership of your life insurance policies or purchase new policies in the Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust. By giving up all “incidents of ownership” over the policies the benefits of the policies are not part of your taxable estate when you die.